Regardless of age, getting caught with the possession of marijuana in the state of Texas is no small deal. Minors (those under the age of 18) in Texas who are charged with marijuana related offenses may be subject to considerable legal penalties and consequences. However, at the same time minors may benefit from some leniency in a legal system with certain legal defenses available to them that can reduce the severity of the penalties they could face.
The quantity of the drug involved in a case and the defendant’s criminal history often determines the charges made and penalties imposed upon conviction. Someone with no previous history of marijuana or other drug offenses may face much less severe consequences compared to someone with numerous drug arrests on his or her record. Generally, penalties for simple possession of marijuana are much less severe than penalties for selling or trafficking the substance.
Standard penalties for marijuana possession
First-time marijuana offenders in Texas charged with simple possession may face conviction in a Class B misdemeanor charge, a maximum fine of $2,000, and a maximum 180 days in jail.
The charges and penalties go up when offenders are caught with more than 4 ounces of marijuana but less than 5 pounds of the substance. The penalties in this case may include conviction on a state jail felony charge, a maximum fine of $10,000, and state jail time of 180 days or maximum of two years.
The charges and penalties elevate a further step when possession of over 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana is the charge. Penalties in this case may include conviction on a third-degree felony, maximum fine of $10,000, and state prison time ranging between two and 10 years.
Leniency for marijuana charges
In Texas legal statutes, marijuana is classified as a separate category of drugs. As a result, there is some leniency associated with charges related to its possession. An individual with no previous felony convictions and who is charged with possession of one pound or less of marijuana must receive a probation sentence and mandatory drug treatment. The judge has discretion in this case whether or not to issue a fine.
Legal defense for children under 18
This leniency extends to minors charge of marijuana have no previous drug convictions. These minors may be able to benefit from Texas marijuana laws to avoid jail time. First time offenders below the age of 18 may be ordered to participate in drug diversion programs rather than be required to serve time in jail. While participating in a mandatory treatment program, a minor will be placed on probation and tested regularly for the presence of drugs in his or her system.
Minors who complete a drug treatment program successfully and are let off of probation may be eligible to have their criminal charge and conviction expunged from their legal record.
If your child under the age of 18 has been caught with possession of marijuana, you need a strong and aggressive defense attorney to help preserve your child’s freedom. Give the attorneys at Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm a call at 254.680.4655, or leave us a message through our contact form to set up a consultation. We serve Killeen, Waco, Copperas Cove and the surrounding areas.